Criminal Records - Sample Mug Shot

Criminal Records

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Having never been arrested, I didn't really think about what types of information that police departments record for criminals. Recently, I stumbled upon several mug shots from the early 1900's at a local postcard show and was amazed.

Some of the older mug shots include unique information like the measurement of the right ear, cheek width, complexion, weight, build, quality of teeth, along with many of the basics like occupation, age, place of birth, residence and, of course, the crime they committed.

It was Alphonse Bertillon, a French anthropologist, who developed this detailed identification system using measurements known as anthropometry, or the Bertillon system. In 1883, Bertillon identified his first habitual criminal using his own system.

Certainly nobody wishes that any of their ancestors had criminal records, but if they did, getting a copy of the police mug shot can be an interesting addition to your genealogy project.

Search the Mug Shots collection

As of November 1, 2010, the transcribed information and images in this collection have been migrated to our Subscription Data service. You may now access this information at no additional cost to the annual subscription.

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If you have some mug shots that you would like to share with other researchers, send us a note. We'll be glad to include them in the database search.

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